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Author Topic: So I don't believe in God...  (Read 12199 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2011, 02:41:26 PM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.
I love St. John of Damascus' discussion on this matter.
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« Reply #46 on: January 22, 2011, 06:00:42 AM »

Okay... Thanks for all the good replies.  I should have realized that this forum probably gets a ton of people who just bash Christianity, and I just want to say that's not what I'm here for.  I respect Christianity (I also have a lot of family who are devout Christians/Catholics) and my intention here is not to convince you guys I'm right, but instead be open to and consider your opinion on why God exists.  Sometimes it's good consider the stuff you know you'll disagree with at first.

With what I said about concise replies... I just didn't want to have to read a 3 paragraph comment on some tangent since we all know it can easily happen on any forum.  If it's on topic, feel free to write as much as you want.

Also, with the whole convinced by evidence and believing thing:  What I mean is that from my current perspective, I just don't see the Christian faith (and God in general) as a reasonable explanation for why we are here.  This is because the whole Big Bang theory—from the beginning to how Earth was formed—makes more sense to me than "The Creation" listed in Genesis.  I can't say that I know my perspective is true, I don't think any of us can know; but it's possible to persuade and convince someone of something so they believe it to be true.  I'm just looking for reasons to believe in God and believe that Christianity is a credible religion.

I believe that in order to have a world where true love was possible, God had to allow creation to make itself to a large extent.  Otherwise, it would end up being some sort of divine puppet show or "simulation" in the mind of God.  So I am not shocked in the least when we find a naturalistic explanation for "the way things are."  In fact, it's to be expected. 

You won't find many amongst us Orthodox who believe in God for explanatory purposes.  That's a logical fallacy called God-of-the-gaps and it is rightly scoffed at.

Instead, everything is summed up in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  God had to "break through" to us, as it were, and the fullest expression of this breakthrough is found in Jesus.  Direct all your attention to him, start with history if you have to, familiarize yourself with the available sources, read, read, read and keep moving forward.

If one genuinely wants to find God though, this will not be enough.  I offer here these extremely helpful and insightful points by Fr. Thomas Hopko.  He calls them his "10 Essential Conditions For Coming To Know God's Truth."

1.  The belief that the truth of things can be known, and the desire to know the truth and to do it, wherever it leads, is most essential. Indeed it is everything. When people have this desire and seek truth in order to do it, and are ready to do it whatever it takes to find it, know it and do it, God promises that they will find, and understand and live. In a sense, this desire and seeking is all that is necessary.

2.  The seeking person must read the New Testament through, slowly and without judgment of details, at least two or three times, taking the time needed to do this. They should let go of what is not clear, and focus on what they can understand, what is clear to them. It would also be helpful to read a Psalm or two everyday.

3.  The person must pray, as they can. If they claim to be Christian, at least somehow, they should say the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers of the Church tradition, and attend Liturgical services, without serving or singing or reading. If they are not Christians, or are unsure, they must at least pray, “to whom it may concern,” saying something like, “if you are there, teach me, lead me, guide me…”

4.  The person must eat good foods in moderation. A couple of days a week (like Wed and Fri) the person should fast; eating much less than usual. During this search the person should abstain from all alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Except a minimal amount of wine with meals. If overeating or drinking, smoking or drug-taking is a problem, the seeker must get formal help, like, for example, a 12 step program.

5.  The person should abstain from all sexual activity unless they are married and expressing love (and not just having sex). There should be no TV or Internet porn. If sex is an addictive problem, they must take steps to get formal help.

6.  The person should sit alone and still in silence for at least a half hour each day. They should watch their thoughts, but not engage them. They should say a very short prayer while doing them, to avoid engaging their thoughts.

7.  The person should give at least a couple of hours a week to charitable work, and should give away some of their money (if they can) in a sacrificial way. They should do this, as far as possible, without anyone knowing what they are doing.

8.  The person should open their life fully to at least one other trustworthy person, telling absolutely everything, without editing or hiding anything: their thoughts, dreams, temptations, actions, sins, fears, anxieties, etc.

9.  The person must regularly talk with someone trustworthy specifically about their family of origin: their family history going back as far as possible, their childhood, relations with their parents and grandparents and siblings, their spiritual and religious history, their sexual history, education, etc.

10.  The person must find a community of friends with whom to struggle to know the truth and to find life. The search cannot be done alone. We need each other.

Welcome to the boards!
So you give suggestions on how to attach emotions to an ideological concept.. Relationships usually include the actual person and not some conceptual Idea of one. Your suggestions are in the realm of manipulation geared to engineer devotion to an ideological construct.
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« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2011, 10:13:51 PM »

Zeus, you nred to stop thinking about this as an "either-or" question. The Universe could well have started as a Big Bang, and Evolution is likely the origin of the various species, but this doesn't preclude the possibility that God is behind them.

Ok, agreed.  May be God was behind it, may be not: got a question specifically about Christianity though (probably one all of you have heard before). 

If I'm correct about this: The basis of Christianity—and the whole point of Jesus resurrecting—was to give each person the freedom to be saved from original sin.  Original sin only exists because of Adam & Eve.  So if evolution as the origin of species is true (not just human evolution but everything from protoplasm to primates), then would it mean that the Adam & Eve story/Christianity is not true?

I know that both evolution and the Adam & Eve story can both be true if God physically placed all the evidence for evolution there himself, but I'm slightly more inclined to believe that the evidence is legitimate.
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« Reply #48 on: January 26, 2011, 03:55:05 AM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
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« Reply #49 on: January 26, 2011, 04:22:00 AM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
"No man has yet breathed all the air; no mind has yet contained or language embraced God’s substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with him to outline qualities that correspond with him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters.
Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."

-St. Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus). It was his feast day yesterday.
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« Reply #50 on: January 26, 2011, 11:12:40 AM »

Zeus, you nred to stop thinking about this as an "either-or" question. The Universe could well have started as a Big Bang, and Evolution is likely the origin of the various species, but this doesn't preclude the possibility that God is behind them.

Ok, agreed.  May be God was behind it, may be not: got a question specifically about Christianity though (probably one all of you have heard before). 

If I'm correct about this: The basis of Christianity—and the whole point of Jesus resurrecting—was to give each person the freedom to be saved from original sin.  Original sin only exists because of Adam & Eve.  So if evolution as the origin of species is true (not just human evolution but everything from protoplasm to primates), then would it mean that the Adam & Eve story/Christianity is not true?

I know that both evolution and the Adam & Eve story can both be true if God physically placed all the evidence for evolution there himself, but I'm slightly more inclined to believe that the evidence is legitimate.


You nailed it, then you missed it again.

It doesn't matter what happened historically with Adam and Eve. The creation story we have has a theological principle behind it. So does the narrative of the Fall. Was there a literal Adam and Eve? I submit that it doesn't really matter now, does it? The point is that humanity has in some way erred and exist in a non-perfected state of sin and death.

Our faith in Christ's redemption does not hinge on how literal the first chapters of Genesis are, it hinges on whether or not Christ rose bodily from the dead. This is so central to the faith that it completely undoes our entire worldview, therefore St. Paul tells us that if Christ did not rise, we are "to be pitied most of all men."
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« Reply #51 on: January 26, 2011, 03:29:16 PM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
"No man has yet breathed all the air; no mind has yet contained or language embraced God’s substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with him to outline qualities that correspond with him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters.
Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."

-St. Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus). It was his feast day yesterday.

What he said. Smiley

When we say that God is eternal, what we mean is, "God is outside of time" or "with God there is no beginning." We can't really describe what eternal is, but we can describe it as a converse to finite.

I would say that we say God is outside of time and not seek to visualize what this means. I will say this - if time is the measure of movement between parts, then time would not be necessary with God. But there is no way to visualize this, but instead we embrace the mystery.
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« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2011, 03:33:21 PM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
"No man has yet breathed all the air; no mind has yet contained or language embraced God’s substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with him to outline qualities that correspond with him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters.
Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."

-St. Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus). It was his feast day yesterday.

What he said. Smiley

When we say that God is eternal, what we mean is, "God is outside of time" or "with God there is no beginning." We can't really describe what eternal is, but we can describe it as a converse to finite.

I would say that we say God is outside of time and not seek to visualize what this means. I will say this - if time is the measure of movement between parts, then time would not be necessary with God. But there is no way to visualize this, but instead we embrace the mystery.

Thank you oz and theo for helping me understand this concept of the "eternal" it makes perfect sense, oh and "describing" God. (On a side note, theo are you a fan of Aquinas?)
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« Reply #53 on: January 26, 2011, 03:38:05 PM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
"No man has yet breathed all the air; no mind has yet contained or language embraced God’s substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with him to outline qualities that correspond with him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters.
Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."

-St. Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus). It was his feast day yesterday.

What he said. Smiley

When we say that God is eternal, what we mean is, "God is outside of time" or "with God there is no beginning." We can't really describe what eternal is, but we can describe it as a converse to finite.

I would say that we say God is outside of time and not seek to visualize what this means. I will say this - if time is the measure of movement between parts, then time would not be necessary with God. But there is no way to visualize this, but instead we embrace the mystery.

Thank you oz and theo for helping me understand this concept of the "eternal" it makes perfect sense, oh and "describing" God. (On a side note, theo are you a fan of Aquinas?)

Eh, yes and no. I'm a fan of his explanation of the body and soul, but at the same time he takes away a lot of the mystery of everything. I'm more partial to the Eastern theologians/philosophers (such as St. John of Damascus), but I do think Aquinas has a lot of good to say.
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« Reply #54 on: January 26, 2011, 04:25:47 PM »

Zeus, you nred to stop thinking about this as an "either-or" question. The Universe could well have started as a Big Bang, and Evolution is likely the origin of the various species, but this doesn't preclude the possibility that God is behind them.

Ok, agreed.  May be God was behind it, may be not: got a question specifically about Christianity though (probably one all of you have heard before). 

If I'm correct about this: The basis of Christianity—and the whole point of Jesus resurrecting—was to give each person the freedom to be saved from original sin.  Original sin only exists because of Adam & Eve.  So if evolution as the origin of species is true (not just human evolution but everything from protoplasm to primates), then would it mean that the Adam & Eve story/Christianity is not true?

I know that both evolution and the Adam & Eve story can both be true if God physically placed all the evidence for evolution there himself, but I'm slightly more inclined to believe that the evidence is legitimate.

I assure you that the evidence can be legitimate while at the same time retaining the creative narrative found in Genesis. It's more a problem of the understanding of our nature rather than the mingling of a Platonic concept to a valid theory. The two will never merge with unity unless one is transfigured.

BTW: I always like to believe that we are in a dialectic discussion instead of an argumentative one.
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« Reply #55 on: January 26, 2011, 04:41:00 PM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.

Theo, without anthropomorphizing God, how exactly does one describe Him, just as a mystery? I guess I myself struggle with an uncreated God that is eternal, my mind just can't contain that (and perhaps I should not).
"No man has yet breathed all the air; no mind has yet contained or language embraced God’s substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with him to outline qualities that correspond with him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters.
Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."

-St. Gregory the Theologian (Nazianzus). It was his feast day yesterday.

What he said. Smiley

When we say that God is eternal, what we mean is, "God is outside of time" or "with God there is no beginning." We can't really describe what eternal is, but we can describe it as a converse to finite.

I would say that we say God is outside of time and not seek to visualize what this means. I will say this - if time is the measure of movement between parts, then time would not be necessary with God. But there is no way to visualize this, but instead we embrace the mystery.

Thank you oz and theo for helping me understand this concept of the "eternal" it makes perfect sense, oh and "describing" God. (On a side note, theo are you a fan of Aquinas?)

Eh, yes and no. I'm a fan of his explanation of the body and soul, but at the same time he takes away a lot of the mystery of everything. I'm more partial to the Eastern theologians/philosophers (such as St. John of Damascus), but I do think Aquinas has a lot of good to say.
I think Aquinas and Dasmascene are good foils of one another. And now I am out.
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« Reply #56 on: January 27, 2011, 11:45:12 AM »

 

If I'm correct about this: The basis of Christianity—and the whole point of Jesus resurrecting—was to give each person the freedom to be saved from original sin.  Original sin only exists because of Adam & Eve.  So if evolution as the origin of species is true (not just human evolution but everything from protoplasm to primates), then would it mean that the Adam & Eve story/Christianity is not true?

That's not how ALL of Christianity understands the Fall/Adam & Eve or the creation account in Genesis. The Eastern Church, what now constitutes the Orthodox Church, never really embraced that view of the fall that you are talking about. We accept, more the Iranaeus model that "the fall" wasn't a "fall" from a great height of spiritual perfection, rather it was being derailed from the path towards spiritual perfection. It was sort of like taking the wrong fork in the road that lead to the top of the mountain, we didn't BEGIN on the mountain top though.

Quote
I know that both evolution and the Adam & Eve story can both be true if God physically placed all the evidence for evolution there himself, but I'm slightly more inclined to believe that the evidence is legitimate.


Well there are other possibilities too. One of which the Catholic Church has essentially backed; that is evolution is 100% true, but at some point in the past, Adam and Eve came into existence, these may have been the first "humans", and they were in full and perfect communion with God, but then fell from this relationship through disobedience.


What I really appreciate about your posts thus far is that you're definitely a lot more open and honest than many people, religious and non religious, so that's good. I'm personally into learning about new views (new to me) and find lots of different beliefs and non beliefs quite interesting even if I don't accept them myself. It's a good road you're own, open minded inquiry with no preconceived notions or ax grinding; hopefully I'm on that same road to the best of my ability.


In another post you wrote, (but it's relevant to this one) the following:
Quote
Also, with the whole convinced by evidence and believing thing:  What I mean is that from my current perspective, I just don't see the Christian faith (and God in general) as a reasonable explanation for why we are here.  This is because the whole Big Bang theory—from the beginning to how Earth was formed—makes more sense to me than "The Creation" listed in Genesis.

Well, despite what many in the Church, and Christianity in general have taught over the centuries, it's pretty clear through Biblical scholarship that the Creation story (actually textually speaking there are 2 different ones, not just one) was not told and written down as some scientific explanation. In other words it is not a scientific text, but a religious text told for religious and spiritual reasons. Genesis 1 as I see it, is a two part text written down from oral tradition which used the best "science" by observation, yet at the same time uses imagery every person knew could not be true. (light before the sun etc) Every ancient KNEW the sun is what gives light; this is just observation and is why so many ancient cultures worshipped the sun. The sun gives life. So it must be a god. That's not what Genesis 1 is saying because it clearly states light exists before the sun, that is a religious statement/metaphor. The "science" of Genesis 1 is just the categorizing of all known species, and the writer actually did an amazingly accurate job. Genesis 2 and 3 have a very different purpose and have really nothing to do with "how the world got here". Orthodoxy and Catholicism don't need Genesis to be literally and factually accurate. Some Church fathers outright said that it was not. Many did believe it, but in any case since we don't hold the view that the Bible is inerrant, well, for us the only point we must take out of Genesis is that God created it all. Which seems to be the point of the whole thing. I don't take Genesis literally (though I once did) and I can pick the whole thing apart textually; and really find some fascinating parallels to ancient myths in the Adam and Eve story etc. Did the ancient writers NOT know of these parallels? I think they most certainly did. To me it's the religious truth behind the story that is important. Try not to get too hung up on what TV preachers say Genesis must mean. Some of the Church fathers, and even the Jewish Rabbis have sometimes said the creation is not literally true, and some of these men said this LONG before the scientific age. Of course lots of them did believe it, but even for many of these saints, the "point" wasn't whether it was a science book, but the "point" was the spiritual significance told within the story. Televangelists who say the "point" of Genesis is to tell us how God created the world are branching off in NEW directions. I don't think any of the early Christian saints, western or eastern would have said such a thing. St. Augustine in, I think Confessions, said that he believed Genesis was 100% literal, but that if it was ever proven NOT to be literal, and Christians still insisted that it was, the Pagans would have good cause to laugh at Christians for continuing to hold such a belief. Can you imagine a Creationist saying such a thing today? I sure can't.

Either way, I personally don't care if anyone believes it is literal or not. People can take it any way they choose. The only time I debate the issue is when someone is told they MUST understand it only ONE way; and two, we MUST teach it as science. As long as people don't try to tell me dinosaurs never existed and God is the cosmic practical joker, or that I as an Orthodox Christian MUST believe it is all 100% factual history, I just do not concern myself with it. Believe it as literal, don't believe...no skin off my nose. It's the spiritual truth in the story that is important. That's how I see it anyways.

(PS: hopefully this won't become yet another Creationist debate, 'sigh')

NP

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« Reply #57 on: January 29, 2011, 02:32:34 AM »

Dear Zeus12,

I'm not sure that you are going to find much in the way of a satisfying answer to your questions asking for proof…and even if someone were able to prove by some argument that God exists what would be the gain?

It seems to me we're dealing a "how do we know what we know" kind of question…epistemology and gnossiology and all those big -ology words. What could possible qualify as of the existence of a person…any person…even a supreme omnipotent, all wise, etc. one? Let's say He openly reveals Himself to someone…that's only satiating to the one visited.  His neighbor who wasn't there at the moment to witness anything might well attribute his friend's new enthusiasm to a short nap and a really spicy slice of pizza. If you visited me and there are no witnesses to the event…people can believe my report that I met you or not…but there is no proof we actually met.

My second point asked what was the gain if you found proof. I learn new stuff every day…and I hope I'm the better for what I learn, but most of it…just another little tin of factoids…well I'm under no obligation to any particular bit any attention at all…I learn a new thing today, move on and learn a new thing tomorrow and build my great big inventory of knowledge about all kinds of stuff.  To learn a "proof" of God's existence is just another afternoon's diversion.  What happens if you get that proof? Do you rejoice and cast yourself at His feet in repentance? Do try to chummy up like a little buddy? Do you just say hmmm, that's very interesting…wonder if a new Glee is on tonight?  Or, do you react badly…ah darn, that just messes with my life man…and essentially resent the fact that you now have proof and now have to figure out a way to justify doing what you want without regard to this newfound knowledge wherever it interferes with your pleasures?

If God exists, what is His incentive to satisfy yours or anyone else's idle curiosity?

The thing is…we are talking about knowing a person….The Person…and persons are not known by"knowing about them." Persons are known only in the context of relationship. If you want to "know" God exists and are not just looking for a proof of fact like wombat's exist or magnetic poles exist that you can take or leave like an old penny….then your search for proof must open to relationship as proof…with all its vulnerabilities.

You can't reduce that to a mathematical formula or put it in a test tube.

So…to put this all in down home speech, I think you've gone on a quail hunt with a clam shovel.  The intellectual tools you want to use cannot discover what you hope to find…its a different gnosis…different tools are required to "know".

Thus when the moment comes God does make Himself known to you…either by means subtle or gross…who is going to believe you….too much spicy pizza before bedtime. How will you prove you had this "invisible" meeting with One Who was definitely there?…barring a major miracle that is.

In the end, I believe your quest going to reach it's intellectual choke point on the question of who do you trust? Whose witness of the faith and it's content is authoritative (not just administratively, but in fact because it is true)?

The best you are going to be about to do intellectually is find enough proof to strongly suggest that about 2000 years ago lived a great Jewish teacher and mystic whose disciples in time changed the world.  Thus you know about him, in summary, pretty much all that is known with any documentary certainty. 

So what now…"Lord, if you exist reveal yourself to me?"  The actual answer to that prayer is the only thing that will serve to qualify and satisfy your current inquiry. And when it happens who will believe you…only those with congruent experience in the same vein…not necessarily externally identical…but essentially the same inward meeting. If your experience matches their experience in content and character, then they know and you know that you share the witness of common knowledge of and about this person God.

That's really all we have day to day as a rule….an ancient witness that was replicated and confirmed in countless lives from that day to this over the course of 2000 years.
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« Reply #58 on: January 30, 2011, 03:53:55 AM »

Apologies for making this my first post on the forum, as I have questions of my own (though not over the existence of God).

I would point you to St. John of Damascus' book An Exact Exposition of Orthodoxy, third chapter (I believe, I don't currently have it in front of me). To put it concisely:

All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

Due to the impossibility of an actual infinite regress - one is possible in mathematics, but cannot be actualized - logically there must be a beginning point. This is not a case of special pleading, for God being simple (uncomposed) and therefore immutable would not require a beginning point, for He exists outside of time. We say He exists outside of time because time is the measurement from one movement to the other, but if God does not move (that is, if He is not corporeal or composed of parts or capable of changing) then there is no measurement of time and thus no need for a beginning. Matter simply doesn't have this capability as it is composed of parts. Therefore, God must exist.

I hope I didn't overstep any boundaries on this.
"all things that are mutable have a creator" — unsupported premise. To even to begin to take it seriously, it must be falsifiable and testable. But if "all things within our experience are mutable," then without an example of a tangible immutable thing to examine, I fail to see how the argument even proposes to distinguish a mutable from an immutable thing.

The argument simply asserts a god exists and declares this god is immutable, but does not provide evidence for either. Not only is no clear explanation given as to why we should consider this god immutable (nor do you even make clear what you mean by "not composed of parts," nor how you could possibly know this), but if it's the christian god we're discussing, then the claim seems to contradict pretty much all of scripture...in which this god is seen making decisions, getting angry and killing millions of people, and sending his son (who is really himself in corporeal form) to die for our sins, allowing him to change his mind about humanity's ultimate fate. in short, everything this god does as recounted in the bible indicates a changing and thoroughly mutable being.

In short, the whole argument is the very definition of the special pleading fallacy. it sets up a host of assumptions about what the rules for reality are, and invents a God who gets to break all those rules. Simply saying "It's not special pleading if we're talking about god, whom I define into existence such and such a way" won't help you.
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« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2011, 12:12:02 AM »

Quote
All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

A more fruitful place to begin might be that suggested in Bishop John Zizoulas' explication of the teaching of the Capadocian fathers "Being as Communion", namely that nothing exists of itself apart from communion, not even God. In short all creation is the outflow of the primal communion revealed to us as the Holy Trinity. If God is Love then God must be Triune because love is relational and does not exist in the absence of the Beloved or of the Other….I cannot do +John's argument justice so I would direct the interested to read Being as Communion to get the details and explanations.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 12:12:46 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
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« Reply #60 on: January 31, 2011, 06:10:24 PM »

Quote
All things that are mutable have a Creator
All things within our experience are mutable
Therefore, all things within our experience have a Creator

A more fruitful place to begin might be that suggested in Bishop John Zizoulas' explication of the teaching of the Capadocian fathers "Being as Communion", namely that nothing exists of itself apart from communion, not even God. In short all creation is the outflow of the primal communion revealed to us as the Holy Trinity. If God is Love then God must be Triune because love is relational and does not exist in the absence of the Beloved or of the Other….I cannot do +John's argument justice so I would direct the interested to read Being as Communion to get the details and explanations.


I saw that book a few months ago and added it to my "Wish List." Hearing the synopsis makes me want it more. Smiley
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« Reply #61 on: February 13, 2011, 11:02:10 PM »

Okay... Thanks for all the good replies.  I should have realized that this forum probably gets a ton of people who just bash Christianity, and I just want to say that's not what I'm here for.  I respect Christianity (I also have a lot of family who are devout Christians/Catholics) and my intention here is not to convince you guys I'm right, but instead be open to and consider your opinion on why God exists.  Sometimes it's good consider the stuff you know you'll disagree with at first.

With what I said about concise replies... I just didn't want to have to read a 3 paragraph comment on some tangent since we all know it can easily happen on any forum.  If it's on topic, feel free to write as much as you want.

Also, with the whole convinced by evidence and believing thing:  What I mean is that from my current perspective, I just don't see the Christian faith (and God in general) as a reasonable explanation for why we are here.  This is because the whole Big Bang theory—from the beginning to how Earth was formed—makes more sense to me than "The Creation" listed in Genesis.  I can't say that I know my perspective is true, I don't think any of us can know; but it's possible to persuade and convince someone of something so they believe it to be true.  I'm just looking for reasons to believe in God and believe that Christianity is a credible religion.

I believe that in order to have a world where true love was possible, God had to allow creation to make itself to a large extent.  Otherwise, it would end up being some sort of divine puppet show or "simulation" in the mind of God.  So I am not shocked in the least when we find a naturalistic explanation for "the way things are."  In fact, it's to be expected. 

You won't find many amongst us Orthodox who believe in God for explanatory purposes.  That's a logical fallacy called God-of-the-gaps and it is rightly scoffed at.

Instead, everything is summed up in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  God had to "break through" to us, as it were, and the fullest expression of this breakthrough is found in Jesus.  Direct all your attention to him, start with history if you have to, familiarize yourself with the available sources, read, read, read and keep moving forward.

If one genuinely wants to find God though, this will not be enough.  I offer here these extremely helpful and insightful points by Fr. Thomas Hopko.  He calls them his "10 Essential Conditions For Coming To Know God's Truth."

1.  The belief that the truth of things can be known, and the desire to know the truth and to do it, wherever it leads, is most essential. Indeed it is everything. When people have this desire and seek truth in order to do it, and are ready to do it whatever it takes to find it, know it and do it, God promises that they will find, and understand and live. In a sense, this desire and seeking is all that is necessary.

2.  The seeking person must read the New Testament through, slowly and without judgment of details, at least two or three times, taking the time needed to do this. They should let go of what is not clear, and focus on what they can understand, what is clear to them. It would also be helpful to read a Psalm or two everyday.

3.  The person must pray, as they can. If they claim to be Christian, at least somehow, they should say the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers of the Church tradition, and attend Liturgical services, without serving or singing or reading. If they are not Christians, or are unsure, they must at least pray, “to whom it may concern,” saying something like, “if you are there, teach me, lead me, guide me…”

4.  The person must eat good foods in moderation. A couple of days a week (like Wed and Fri) the person should fast; eating much less than usual. During this search the person should abstain from all alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Except a minimal amount of wine with meals. If overeating or drinking, smoking or drug-taking is a problem, the seeker must get formal help, like, for example, a 12 step program.

5.  The person should abstain from all sexual activity unless they are married and expressing love (and not just having sex). There should be no TV or Internet porn. If sex is an addictive problem, they must take steps to get formal help.

6.  The person should sit alone and still in silence for at least a half hour each day. They should watch their thoughts, but not engage them. They should say a very short prayer while doing them, to avoid engaging their thoughts.

7.  The person should give at least a couple of hours a week to charitable work, and should give away some of their money (if they can) in a sacrificial way. They should do this, as far as possible, without anyone knowing what they are doing.

8.  The person should open their life fully to at least one other trustworthy person, telling absolutely everything, without editing or hiding anything: their thoughts, dreams, temptations, actions, sins, fears, anxieties, etc.

9.  The person must regularly talk with someone trustworthy specifically about their family of origin: their family history going back as far as possible, their childhood, relations with their parents and grandparents and siblings, their spiritual and religious history, their sexual history, education, etc.

10.  The person must find a community of friends with whom to struggle to know the truth and to find life. The search cannot be done alone. We need each other.

Welcome to the boards!

I was on AOI today and I came across the same article and a fellow by the name of Heiromonk Mark posted this, thought you might find it interesting

Quote
Perhaps it is because I am not an erudite, academic theologian, with letters after my name, but this little piece leaves me uneasy. It strikes me as the blandest possible, values-free, humanistic, ecumenistic, generic counterfeit for Orthodox Christianity one could imagine.

Didn’t our Lord say that, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven and that no one can come to the Father but by Him? And yet Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Spirit, the Holy Trinity, the only true source of the authentic divine life, light and truth, is nowhere mentioned in this ‘recipe’ for coming to know the ‘truth’ of a generic, unspecified ‘God’ and the finding of some kind of ‘life’ also of an unspecified nature. There are many people that follow many of these suggestions without knowing or coming to know Christ. I’d venture to say that the Dalai Lama, just as one example, has a mastery of many, if not most, of them, and, indeed, one better than I have been able to achieve.

Do not our Holy Fathers make it clear that the only true and inerrrant path to the Kingdom of God is twofold, consisting of both the practise of Orthodox Christian askesis and participation in the Holy Mysteries of the Orthodox Church? Isn’t what Fr. Thomas has written a sort of non-denominational, ‘New Age’, ‘AA’ type of palliative, that could tend to make all sorts of self-styled ‘spiritual’ people happy and satisfied with themselves and with what ‘good’ people they are (by their own efforts), without leading anyone any closer to the Way, the Truth and the Life, the one and only, who is to be found, in perfect fullness and clarity, only in the faith and life preserved and lived to their fullness in the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ, and there, alone?

As George writes, the 10 points may certainly be useful for making the world (a world without Christ) a better place. But I have strong reservations about them being an effective and dependable way to knowing ‘God’s Truth’ and finding ‘Life’ as we Orthodox Christians are taught by Holy Tradition to understand them. Mere ‘wise words’ from a sweet, gentle heart can easily lead astray. The best guidance we can offer to all men, both Orthodox Christians and not, is our own personal dedication to living the life of Holy Orthodoxy to the fullest extent our personal frailties will permit. Then, words are available, if needed, as a means of clarification of the reality we express in our ascetic and mystical life.
http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/2011/02/fr-hopko-10-essential-conditions-for-coming-to-know-god%e2%80%99s-truth-and-finding-life/
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« Reply #62 on: February 14, 2011, 02:45:05 PM »

For the OP, this might be helpful:
http://www.peterkreeft.com/featured-writing.htm
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« Reply #63 on: February 16, 2011, 06:42:47 AM »

Please tell me why you believe He (or She) is actually there.

If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys.

I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.

That's great.. Jesus stories were a dime a dozen in that era.. Not to mention in the general history of religion..

Unoriginality of the Bible:

lets get into some fun stuff while we are at it.. Let's see how much you even know about your religion and why it's entirely false and a form of plagiarism, or at the very least a perfect example of a copy / paste religion.

Jesus and Hercules
* http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/hercules.html

*Overcame the serpent and assassination attempts during infancy.
*Divine Father and Mortal Mother.
*Birth prophesied.
*Consoled mother upon time of death with reference to Heaven
*Final words: "It is finished"

Jesus and Dionysus:
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.html

*Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature
*Divine Father, Mortal Virgin Mother
*Healed the sick
*Turned water into wine
*Killed, and resurrected to immortality
*Depicted on a Donkey
*Death was greatest accomplishment delivering humanity

The Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah's Ark:
http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab1.htm

*Worldwide flood caused by rain would destroy everything
*A single righteous man: Ut-Napishtim or Noah
*The main characters were instructed to build an ark of wood with compartments, and have a single door
*The arc settled on a mountain in the Middle East
*Two birds returned to the ark, but not the third
*An animal was offered as a sacrifice upon landing
*The Gods in both stories expressed remorse for what they did

The great Sumerian Flood - Ark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKZhd3mJeBE

Osiris
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/o/osiris.html

*Body chopped up and scattered throughout the nation - Judges 20:6
*Virgin mother
*Rose from the grave to judge the souls of the dead

--

The story of Jesus is either nearly plagiarized from other religions far more ancient than Christianity, or inspired by. This goes beyond Judaism. The bulk can be directly traced to Egyptian religion, and the worship of the sun god Horus, who happens to share many important features with Jesus. These features are so identical, the issue cannot be due to coincidence. This is not to say that Horus is the only Pagan god with similar features, but he is one of the most identical to Jesus. Others might be Mithra, Krishna, Dionysus, Attis, or Zoroaster.

1. His mother was a virgin woman: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Krishna, Mithra, Zoroaster
2. He was born on December 25: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
3. His earthly (adopted) father was a carpenter: Jesus, Krishna
4. His birth was signaled by a heavenly star: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna
5. At his birth, shepherds presented him with gifts: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
6. He was born in a manger or a cave: Jesus, Dionysus, Mithra
7. As a baby, he is declared a king. Wise men present him with gifts of gold: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
8. Angels or other good divine spirits sang songs or danced at his birth: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
9. He was threatened by a king or tyrant who tried to kill him as an infant: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses
10. He was of royal lineage: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
11. He taught at the temple as a child and astounded all who heard him with his wisdom: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Zoroaster
12. He was baptized at a river: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Zoroaster
13. His hapless baptizer is later decapitated: Jesus, Horus
14. He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil: Jesus, Zoroaster
15. He was a traveling teacher of great wisdom: Jesus, Buddha, Dionysus, Mithra
16. His ministry preached a message of charity, peace and love. He lived in poverty and loved the poor: Jesus, Krishna
17. He taught of heaven and hell, revealed mysteries, resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse: Jesus, Zoroaster
18. He gave a famous sermon on a mountain: Jesus, Horus
19. He had 12 disciples: Jesus, Horus, Mithra
20. He gave his disciples the power to work miracles: Jesus, Krishna
21. He was transfigured in front of his disciples, sometimes described as shining as the sun: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna
22. He healed the sick and the injured: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Mithra, Serapis, Zoroaster
23. He cast out demons: Jesus, Horus, Zoroaster
24. He fed hundreds or thousands with magically generated food: Jesus, Buddha
25. He walked on water: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
26. He brought back the dead: Jesus, Horus
27. He turned water into wine: Jesus, Dionysus
28. His followers were admonished to take vows of poverty and renounce worldly desires: Jesus, Buddha
29. He was called such exalted titles as "Lord", "Master", "Light of the World", "Holy One", "Redeemer", "The Way", "The Truth", etc.: Jesus, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
30. He is called "Logos" or "The Word": Jesus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra, Prometheus, Zoroaster
31. He was called "the anointed one" (how "Christ" translates): Jesus, Dionysus, Horus
32. He was known to his followers as a Shepherd of Humanity: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Mithra, Serapis
33. He was known as a fisher, associated with the fish: Jesus, Horus
34. He's identified with the ram or lamb: Jesus, Dionysus, Horus, Mithra
35. He's identified with the lion: Jesus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
36. He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
37. He rode in a triumphal procession on a donkey: Jesus, Dionysus
38. He condemned the clergy for their ambition and hypocrisy. He would later fall victim to their scheming: Jesus, Krishna
39. He crushed a serpent's head: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
40. Declared the savior of humanity, slain for our salvation: Jesus, Attis, Krishna, Mithra
41. He sometimes is known by a heart symbol: Jesus, Krishna
42. His body and/or blood is consumed through bread/wine in a symbolic ritual: Jesus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra, Zoroaster
43. He had a sacred cup or grail: Jesus, Zoroaster
44. He died while hung from a cross or a tree: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna
45. His good friend, a fisherman named Peter/Petraeus, would desert him: Jesus, Prometheus
46. He was crucified between two thieves: Jesus, Horus, Krishna
47. He was around the age of 30 when he was crucified: Jesus, Krishna
48. At his death, the sun darkened or there were other grim supernatural signs: Jesus, Krishna
49. He went to the underworld for three days: Jesus, Attis, Mithra
50. He was resurrected: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
51. He was resurrected during the springtime, the date of which would become a day of celebration among his followers: Jesus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra
52. His sacred day is Sunday: Jesus, Mithra
53. He is the second part of a divine trinity and/or considered to be one with his father god: Jesus, Attis, Krishna
54. He promises to return one day: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Zoroaster
55. When he comes again, he will ride on a white horse to do battle with the prince of evil: Jesus, Krishna

THE RIVALS OF JESUS!: <National Geographic series>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMXHL2cRNzw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly8ojx0nw4Y&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2G-sdcv50cQ&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsTFiQKLeJU&feature=related

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« Reply #64 on: February 16, 2011, 06:47:50 AM »

Then you can go on to list thousands of GOD's to which include our very own Sun. Even Christianity has Polytheistic roots. However it tries to assert a GOD above all other GODS later in it's history:

Quote
"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them." (Exodus 18:11)

Quote
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26)
Quote
"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" (Exodus 20:5)

You can reference The Evolution of God on Youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg&feature=player_embedded

History records that the ancient people in the area of the Middle East, including the Hebrews, believed in many goddesses and gods. Yahweh served only as their god, a god among many others.

    "It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

Christianity is really the evolution of denying the existence of all other GOD's in favor of their singular GOD even though their History is directly tied to polytheism. It's a self-historical contradiction, and a perfect example of the evolution of the God Concept..
AKA moving the Goal post!

It get's even worse here:

The other problem is that the Bible is pretty much the worshiping of the SUN, Yes that star that gives life, and snuffs out darkness to which seemingly hangs in the sky.

*
Quote
(Deuteronomy 9:3 NIV) But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.

*
Quote
27And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.
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Malachi intimates the appearance of the sun with the name of God. "Hosts" refers to the stars: 11For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

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for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:29)

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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

There are many more.. But I think a few will suffice to make a point. And much of the fable behind Jesus's own story seems to follow the same theme.

Hence the GOD of light is actually supposed to be the Sun itself. It's always been a light vs Dark thing. The meaning of it really is that servitude to power is the light, and anything that should stray into the darkness is evil. It's a neat little mind trick to setup social dogma commonly found in "Christian Realism". Hence, anything against the light is to be feared, demonized, or claimed to be immoral and evil.
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« Reply #65 on: February 16, 2011, 09:10:17 AM »

Jesus and Hercules*Overcame the serpent and assassination attempts during infancy.
There was indeed an attempt on his life while he was still an infant, when his step-mother, Juno, put a serpent in his cradle (which Hercules kills), but this hardly compares to Jesus.

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*Divine Father and Mortal Mother.
Yet was not a virgin and had a twin brother, Iphicles.

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*Birth prophesied.
Which prophets were those? No such thing appears in the Hercules story.

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*Consoled mother upon time of death with reference to Heaven
Hercules never really 'died' in any version of the story, and I can find no mention of his mother or any disciple in the one version in which Deianara poisons him.

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*Final words: "It is finished"
Nope.

http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus2.html#4 (Scroll to 2.4.8 to read the story)
http://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4A.html#8
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HesiodShield.html
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns3.html#15
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidHeroides2.html#9
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses9.html#1
http://www.emufarm.org/~cmbell/myth/hercules.html
http://www.tektonics.org/alcy.html
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/hercules.html

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Jesus and Dionysus:
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.html

*Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature
Dionysus was indeed "the God of the Vine". However, Jesus wasn't.

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*Divine Father, Mortal Virgin Mother
His mother, Semele, was impregnanted sexually by Zeus.  He was never referred to as the "Holy Child" or placed in a manger in any version of the story.
http://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4A.html#3

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*Healed the sick
Jesus' miracles were healings and such - all positive miracles.  Dionysus' miracles were judgments against those who defied him.

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*Turned water into wine
The earliest possible reference to Dionysus turning water into wine was by Achilles Tatius in the Greek Romance, "The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon" which was written in the 2nd century A.D.  It mentions a Tyranian myth about Dionysus introducing wine to the world, with Dionysus calling it "the water of summer" and saying "This is the water, this is the spring".  It's not clear whether this a real Tyranian myth being mentioned here (in which case it may be pre-Christian) or just something Tatius was inventing for the purposes of this story.  Either way, Dionysus is not actually turning water into wine, but simply calling the wine a type of water.  And we cannot reliably date this myth to any earlier than the second century A.D.

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*Killed, and resurrected to immortality
This story is hardly similar to the story of Jesus' resurrection and is an unofficial story anyways.  There is an ancient reference to Dionysus being "a god who renews himself and returns every year rejuvenated", but this doesn't involve death.

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*Depicted on a Donkey
Dionysus was depicted riding a donkey while a crowd waved ivy branches - the typical homecoming for any royal figure.  The crowd welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem were imitating this sort of homecoming, though using the traditional palm branches of Israel.  So while this could be called a sort of imitation, it's an imitation committed by the people in the story itself, not by any writer, and had nothing to do with Dionysus in particular.  The latter quotes come from the book "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy.  Their only reference is to a depiction of a scene from Orphic eschatology which, oddly, has nothing to do with Dionysus.

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*Death was greatest accomplishment delivering humanity
Actually Jesus' Resurrection is the greatest accomplishment in delivering humanity. Dionysus is only referred to as 'savior' and in the context in which he is referred to 'savior', he is saving people from the wrath of Pentheus, not from sin or eternal damnation.  So even this is hardly a comparison to Jesus.

http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus3.html#5
http://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4A.html#4
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns1.html#1
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns3.html#26
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses3.html#6
http://www.gods-heros-myth.com/godpages/dionysus.html
http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_04_02_04_DDD.html
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Dionysus2.html
http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/dionysus.html

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The Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah's Ark:
http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab1.htm

*Worldwide flood caused by rain would destroy everything
*A single righteous man: Ut-Napishtim or Noah
*The main characters were instructed to build an ark of wood with compartments, and have a single door
*The arc settled on a mountain in the Middle East
*Two birds returned to the ark, but not the third
*An animal was offered as a sacrifice upon landing
*The Gods in both stories expressed remorse for what they did
I have not researched the claims of parallels here, but don't see quite how they matter.  Moses was writing about events that supposedly took place before Gilgamesh was written.  If the flood really happened, and the writer of Gilgamesh simply wrote about the flood first, then of course Moses, writing about the exact same flood, is going to write a similar story.  Just as someone writing about the Kennedy assassination today is going to write a similar to story as someone who wrote about the Kennedy assassination in the seventies.

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Osiris
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/o/osiris.html
*Body chopped up and scattered throughout the nation - Judges 20:6
In most versions, he's slain and cut into pieces by Seth (his son in many version, his brother in other versions), so this hardly corresponds to Jesus.

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*Virgin mother
Nope.  His mother was the goddess Nut (I'm saying her name is 'Nut', not that she's a nut).

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*Rose from the grave to judge the souls of the dead
In almost every version, he does not come back from the dead.  There is one version in which Isis resurrects him, but I've only seen it mentioned in one source, and even that source admits this version is rare, and was thus likely unknown to the Israelites.

http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0836984.html

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1. His mother was a virgin woman: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Krishna, Mithra, Zoroaster
Attis: While Attis was conceived non-sexually, no texts make the claim that Nana was a virgin.
Buddha: According to Ashvaghosha, Buddha was born of the King of Shakyas and his wife, Maya.  He wrote that they "tasted of love's delights" before Buddha was born, thus Buddha was certainly not born of a virgin. The earliest accounts suggest nothing unusual about Buddha's birth, but later (still pre-Christian) versions suggest Buddha was conceived non-sexually.
Dionysus: As addressed above, his mother, Semele, was impregnanted sexually by Zeus. (http://www.theoi.com/Text/DiodorusSiculus4A.html#3)
Krishna: Since, according to legend, Krishna had seven older siblings, it's unlikely his mother, Devaki, was a virgin (and there's no tradition saying she was).
Mithra: There is no support for the idea that Mithra was born of a virgin.
Zoroaster: Zoroaster's mom was married when she gave birth to him, and there's nothing suggesting she was celibate while married.  The "ray of divine reason" was apparently a purely spiritual thing, and Zoroaster's body actually was created the usual way.

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2. He was born on December 25: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
Attis: While many gods have their birth dates celebrated on December 25th (including Jesus, though this date is not ascribed to his birth in any biblical writing), Attis’ birthday has never been celebrated on December 25th.
Buddha: His birthday is never celebrated on (or believed to be) December 25th (by some traditions, it's May 8th - hey, that's my birthday!  I guess I'm a myth!), and there was no star or angels at his birth by any tradition. The king did invite 108 Brahmins to the palace to celebrate his birth, and these could be called 'wise men'.  However, there were no 'wise men' of any sort at Jesus' birth, as the Biblical appearance of the wise men happened at Jesus' home in Bethlehem when He was one or two years old.
Dionysus: Actually, his birth was always celebrated on January 6th.
Horus: Horus was given three different birthdates in mythology, one of which does correspond to December 25th.  But since Jesus wasn't, per the evidence, born on 12/25, this isn't a parallel.
Krishna: According to krishna.avatara.org, Krishna was born on the "8th day of the dark half of the month of Sravana. This corresponds to July 19th 3228 BC."  I've seen other sites say he was born in August.
Mithra: Since nowhere in the New Testament does it state that Jesus was born on December 25th, this could not be called a comparison.

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3. His earthly (adopted) father was a carpenter: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: No, his human father (his only father, for that matter) was a man named Vasuveda.  I have found no sources suggesting that he was a carpenter.  I even did internet searches on the combination of "Vasuveda" and "Carpenter" in Google, Yahoo and Infoseek, and got no hits except for articles written about Krishna by people whose last names were 'Carpenter'.  In fact, he was most likely a dairy farmer.  In some versions of the Krishna story, his father is King Kansa (who is also not a carpenter), who is also Devaki's brother.  Some web sites state that Kansa is Devaki's cousin or uncle, but followers assure me Kansa is Devaki's brother.

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4. His birth was signaled by a heavenly star: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna
Buddha: There was no star at his birth by any tradition.
Horus: By Acharya's source for the claims appears to be Massey, who says "the Star in the East that arose to announce the birth of the babe (Jesus) was Orion, which is therefore called the star of Horus. That was once the star of the three kings; for the 'three kings' is still a name of three stars in Orion's belt . . . "  Massey's apparently getting mixed up, and then the critics are misinterpreting it.  Orion is not a star, but a constellation, of which there are three stars in a row making up the belt of Orion.  However, there is no evidence that these three stars were called the "Three Kings" prior to Jesus' time, nor even prior to the 17th century, for that matter. And even if there is a specific star called 'the star of Horus', there's no legend stating that it announced Horus' birth (as the critics are claiming) or that the three stars in Orion's belt attended Horus' birth in any way.
Krishna: I've found no mention of this in any Krishna story.

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5. At his birth, shepherds presented him with gifts: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
Buddha: As said before the king did invite 108 Brahmins to the palace to celebrate his birth, and these could be called 'wise men'.  However, there were no 'wise men' of any sort at Jesus' birth, as the Biblical appearance of the wise men happened at Jesus' home in Bethlehem when He was one or two years old.  The forementioned Brahmins did predict that Buddha would be either the ruler of the world or the greatest religious founder of the world, and Buddha (apparently quite smart for an infant) chose the latter.  So in Buddha's case, he was not pronounced ruler of the world.  And as for Jesus, He was not pronounced ruler of the world at His birth, either, so how would it compare even if this was true for Buddha? As for the gifts, while it could be assumed that, as the child of a king, Buddha would be given costly presents, no texts specifically say that he was bestowed with such gifts.  And, again, as for Jesus, He was not given costly gifts at His birth.  The delivery of the frankincense, gold, and myrrh happened when the wise men came to Jesus' home when he was one or two years old, not at the manger when he was just born.
Horus: There were no “three wise men” at Horus’ birth, or at Jesus’ for that matter (the Bible never gives the number of wise men, and they showed up at Jesus’ home, not at the manger, probably when Jesus was a year or two old).
Krishna: I found this site (http://www.vedanta-atlanta.org/stories/Krishna2.html), written by a follower of Krishna, which gives the story of the birth of Krishna, and even makes some general comparisons between Krishna and Jesus (that they were both born of a woman, born in this world and were 'God-on-Earth'), yet it mentions nothing about angels, shepherds, or spices.  I haven't found such comparisons anywhere else, either.  Manali points out that Krishna was visited by cowherds after his birth, since his family was in the dairy business.
Mithra: There are texts suggesting that shepherds were present at Mithra’s birth and helped dig him out of the mountain, but these are Roman texts dating to no earlier than the 2nd century A.D., and thus were most likely influenced by the New Testament writings, instead of being an influence upon them.

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6. He was born in a manger or a cave: Jesus, Dionysus, Mithra
Dionysus: He was never placed in a manger in any version of the story.
Mithra: Mithra was formed within a solid mountain, not within a cave. While, logically, a cave was left behind once Mithra dug himself out, saying he was born in a cave is wrong. There are texts suggesting that shepherds were present at Mithra’s birth and helped dig him out of the mountain, but these are Roman texts dating to no earlier than the 2nd century A.D., and thus were most likely influenced by the New Testament writings, instead of being an influence upon them.

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7. As a baby, he is declared a king. Wise men present him with gifts of gold: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
Buddha: I'm just going to repeat what has been said. Sort of true for Buddha, but not true for Jesus.  The forementioned Brahmins did predict that Buddha would be either the ruler of the world or the greatest religious founder of the world, and Buddha (apparently quite smart for an infant) chose the latter.  So in Buddha's case, he was not pronounced ruler of the world.  And as for Jesus, He was not pronounced ruler of the world at His birth, either, so how would it compare even if this was true for Buddha? As for the gifts, while it could be assumed that, as the child of a king, Buddha would be given costly presents, no texts specifically say that he was bestowed with such gifts.  And, again, as for Jesus, He was not given costly gifts at His birth.  The delivery of the frankincense, gold, and myrrh happened when the wise men came to Jesus' home when he was one or two years old, not at the manger when he was just born.
Krishna: It seems like you repeated the claim. I'll repost. I found this site (http://www.vedanta-atlanta.org/stories/Krishna2.html), written by a follower of Krishna, which gives the story of the birth of Krishna, and even makes some general comparisons between Krishna and Jesus (that they were both born of a woman, born in this world and were 'God-on-Earth'), yet it mentions nothing about angels, shepherds, or spices.  I haven't found such comparisons anywhere else, either.  Manali points out that Krishna was visited by cowherds after his birth, since his family was in the dairy business.

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8. Angels or other good divine spirits sang songs or danced at his birth: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
Buddha: No angels at his birth by any tradition
Krishna: As said above no mention of angels or divine spirits in the tradition.

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9. He was threatened by a king or tyrant who tried to kill him as an infant: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Moses
Buddha: First of all, there are many versions of the Buddha story, and this event occurs only in a rare version unfamiliar to most Buddhists.  Secondly, this event doesn't correspond to the Biblical story of Herod's attempt to kill Jesus in Matthew chapter 2.  Matthew wrote that killing Jesus was Herod's idea.  In the Buddha story, the king in question (Bimbasara) is advised to destroy Buddha, but rejects this advice.  So while Bimbasara is advised to kill Buddha, Herod is not advised to kill Jesus.  While Herod wants, and attempts, to kill Jesus, Bimbasara does not want, or attempt, to kill Buddha.
Krishna: While there is a parallel here, it's not the one the critics claim.  According to Manali, "after Kansa failed to kill Krishna, and came to know that the baby has been born and is living somewhere, he called upon his army to search the entire city of Mathura and its suburbs, to find and kill all the infants born in the same period as Krishna. Thus he ended up killing several infants, and there are several stories of how miraculously Krishna as a baby escaped the killings."  So it was "several" infants, not thousands.  Also, the number of infants killed by Herod when he found out about Jesus couldn't have been much more than about twenty according to most scholars, so it wasn't "thousands" there, either.  So replace "thousands of" with "several" in the claim, and there is a parallel.  However, the earliest version of this story in the Krishna tradition probably dates from the 4th to 6th century A.D., well after the Jesus story had been in circulation.  Some date the Krishna story as early as 2nd century A.D., but even this is after the Gospel accounts were written.
Moses: LOL

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10. He was of royal lineage: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
Buddha: This one's true, but not very meaningful.  Buddha was the son of a king, while Jesus was a distant descendant (along with most of His neighbors) of King David.  Millions of people are descended from royalty somewhere down the line (I've even heard a theory that all Europeans are descendants of Charlemagne), so this one is hardly unique of either of them.
Horus: This one’s true!  But it's not really a comparison to Jesus.  When followers speak of Jesus being of 'royal descent', they usually mean His being a descendent of King David, an earthly king.  Horus was, according to the myth, descended from heavenly royalty (as Jesus was), being the son of the main god.

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11. He taught at the temple as a child and astounded all who heard him with his wisdom: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Zoroaster
Buddha: Well, the first word is true.  He indeed 'taught'.  But it wasn't in a temple. Also he was fifteen.
Horus: He never taught in any temple
Zoroaster: Nope. At age 7, he was put under the care of magi, who he frequently argued with.  Later, the magi had him imprisoned, but he was freed after he made the legs grow back on a horse.

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12. He was baptized at a river: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Zoroaster
Buddha: There's nothing in any Buddha story or tradition about his being baptized.
Horus: Again, Horus was never baptized.
Zoroaster: Zoroaster receives a revelation while on the banks of a river.  That's the closest parallel to be found.

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13. His hapless baptizer is later decapitated: Jesus, Horus
Horus: There is no “Anup the Baptizer” in the story.

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14. He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil: Jesus, Zoroaster
Zoroaster: There is a parallel in the Zoroaster story to Jesus' temptation, and, yes, it does apparently predate the Jesus story by a couple hundred years.  However, Zoroaster's "temptation" wasn't by the "devil" (in Zoroastrian literature, Ahriman) and it may or may not have been in the wilderness (the texts don't say).  Zoroaster is tempted by a demon, not by Ahriman himself.  And his temptation doesn't involve turning stones to bread or leaping from towers, just dialogue between Zoroaster and the demon.

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15. He was a traveling teacher of great wisdom: Jesus, Buddha, Dionysus, Mithra
Buddha: Depends on the wisdom, claiming the natural world does not exist isn't quite wisdom. And he pointed to an abstract truth, whereas Jesus IS the truth because He is the God-incarnate.
Dionysus: Jesus traveled in a limited area, while Dionysus supposedly traveled to most of the known world (including Greece, Persia and Arabia) and his wisdom was based on judgment not positive.
Mithra: First of all, any religious figure could logically be described as a great traveling teacher and master. However, this label does NOT seem to apply to Mithra. Great and Master, perhaps. But nowhere in his story does he travel or teach.

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16. His ministry preached a message of charity, peace and love. He lived in poverty and loved the poor: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: A Hindu follower has said that "Krishna never lived as a poor person.  The Yadav Caste (of which Krishna was a member) are dairy farmers, and, since milk is an important commodity, they have always been quite wealthy by Indian standards".  A second follower, Manali, says that "Krishna did live poor during parts of his childhood, when he was under the care of foster parents.  When Kansa's reign ended and he was welcomed back into the royal family, he never lived poor again." But when we say that Jesus "lived poor", we're talking about his entire life, childhood and adulthood, so this isn't a comparison.  Besides that, many people throughout history have lived poor and loved the poor, it's not hard to believe that Krishna and/or Jesus may have been among them.

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17. He taught of heaven and hell, revealed mysteries, resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse: Jesus, Zoroaster
Zoroaster: Zoroaster did teach about heaven and hell, and resurrection into a non-dying body.  Judgment is done by other gods, but with Zoroaster pleading the case of those who are faithful to him, though, unlike with Christianity, the faithful are not automatically saved.  Salvation is achieved by works alone, unlike Christianity.  And the apocalypse Zoroaster spoke of was a flood of molten metal.  Sounds like a pretty good comparison, huh?  However, most of this is from post-Christian writings.  Also, most of these subjects begin on the Bible's Old Testament, which predates the earliest Zoroastrian references by several hundred years.

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18. He gave a famous sermon on a mountain: Jesus, Horus
Horus: Horus never delivered such a sermon.

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19. He had 12 disciples: Jesus, Horus, Mithra
Horus: Horus had four disciples (called ‘Heru-Shemsu’). There’s another reference to sixteen followers, and a group of followers called ‘mesnui’ (blacksmiths) who join Horus in battle, but are never numbered. But there’s no reference to twelve followers or any of them being named “Anup” or “Aan”.
Mithra: In the Persian version of the Mithra story, he has one disciple, Varuna. In the Roman version, he has two, Cautes and Cautopatres. The source for this claim seems to be an old carving of Mithra slaying a bull while 12 people watch on. That these 12 people are companions or disciples is not suggested, and besides, this carving dates to post-Christian times anyways, so if they WERE meant to be disciples of some sort, they were likely influenced by Christianity, not the other way around.

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20. He gave his disciples the power to work miracles: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: Not found in any version of tradition.
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« Reply #66 on: February 16, 2011, 09:54:21 AM »

21. He was transfigured in front of his disciples, sometimes described as shining as the sun: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna
Buddha:This one's sort of true.  For Buddha, his transfiguration had to do with him reaching a certain level in his spiritual evolution, which caused outward physical changes.  For Jesus, His transfiguration was His revealing who He was from the beginning.  Jesus' transfiguration had nothing to do with his attaining any sort of higher level.
Horus: No, he was not.
Krishna: Not found in any version of tradition.

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22. He healed the sick and the injured: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Mithra, Serapis, Zoroaster
Buddha: In the Digha Nikaya, Chapter 11 (which was oral tradition from the 5th century B.C. and finally written down in the 1st century B.C.), Buddha is discussing miracles with Kevatta.  Kevatta suggests that a display of psychic powers from one of his monks would increase the faith of the locals.  Buddha responds, ""Kevatta, there are these three miracles that I have declared, having directly known and realized them for myself. Which three? The miracle of psychic power, the miracle of telepathy, and the miracle of instruction."  Buddha proceeeds to list off examples of psychic powers: "Having been one he [the monk] becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful." Of course, if this one parallel were significant enough to suggest that Jesus borrowed from Buddha, then why have Christ-mythers bothered to fabricate all of these other parallels about Buddha?  Obviously, the people who fabricated the claims didn't find this one particularly convincing.
Horus: No record of him healing the sick or injured only performed miracles.
Krishna: He worked miracles but of healing the sick or injured I have not found any record of.
Mithra: This is true, and claims of Mithra’s miracles do date to the pre-Christian Persian versions. But miracles themselves date to far earlier (Noah story, anyone?). So the idea that Jesus’ miracles were inspired by Mithra’s miracles is rather ridiculous. Since Mithra never did anything which equates to Jesus’ miracles (such as walking on water or raising the dead), this could not be called a significant comparison. And again no mention of healing sick or injured.
Serapis: Serapis was said to "give life, strength, health, to thy nostrils for ever" (and everyone knows the importance of having healthy nostrils).  But there is no indication here of his truly healing the sick as Jesus did.  What Serapis is claimed to have done is kept the healthy healthy.
Zoroaster: No mention of healing the sick or injured.

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23. He cast out demons: Jesus, Horus, Zoroaster
Horus: Never exorcised demons
Zoroaster: There's no reference to Zoroaster casting out demons

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24. He fed hundreds or thousands with magically generated food: Jesus, Buddha
Buddha: No mention of magically generating food, I mentioned his three miracles above.

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25. He walked on water: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
Buddha: I brought this up above but he refers to a psychic power "He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land."
Horus: No, he did not.

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26. He brought back the dead: Jesus, Horus
Horus: Nope.

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27. He turned water into wine: Jesus, Dionysus
Dionysus: Mentioned this before copying it again here. The earliest possible reference to Dionysus turning water into wine was by Achilles Tatius in the Greek Romance, "The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon" which was written in the 2nd century A.D.  It mentions a Tyranian myth about Dionysus introducing wine to the world, with Dionysus calling it "the water of summer" and saying "This is the water, this is the spring".  It's not clear whether this a real Tyranian myth being mentioned here (in which case it may be pre-Christian) or just something Tatius was inventing for the purposes of this story.  Either way, Dionysus is not actually turning water into wine, but simply calling the wine a type of water.  And we cannot reliably date this myth to any earlier than the second century A.D.

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28. His followers were admonished to take vows of poverty and renounce worldly desires: Jesus, Buddha
Buddha: True of Buddha, but not true of Jesus.  While many Christians do take vows of poverty and renounce the world, Jesus Himself never told all of His followers to do such things.  Of course, there is the story of Jesus telling a wealthy young ruler to give everything he has to the poor, but this was a specific command to one man, not a general command to all followers.

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29. He was called such exalted titles as "Lord", "Master", "Light of the World", "Holy One", "Redeemer", "The Way", "The Truth", etc.: Jesus, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
Buddha: Of the above, Buddha was only called 'Lord'.
Dionysus: Of these, Dionysus is only referred to as 'savior' (which you don't have listed and I mentioned this above).  And in the context in which he is referred to 'savior', he is saving people from the wrath of Pentheus, not from sin or eternal damnation.  So even this is hardly a comparison to Jesus.
Horus: The only titles Horus is given are “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father”. None of the above titles are in any Egyptian mythology.
Krishna: He was never referred to by these titles.
Mithra: Mithra was never called any of these things, even in the Roman version of Mithraism

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30. He is called "Logos" or "The Word": Jesus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra, Prometheus, Zoroaster
Horus: Nope.
Krishna: Nope.
Mithra: Nope.
Prometheus: Yes, but not commonly, and not with the same meaning at which Jesus is called 'Logos'.  Christians believe that Jesus is the Word (Logos) of God manifested into the flesh.  The Greek mythologian Plutarch called Prometheus "reason" (also Logos), but did not mean in the sense of Prometheus being the Word of Zeus.
Zoroaster: No reference to this, implicit or explicit.

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31. He was called "the anointed one" (how "Christ" translates): Jesus, Dionysus, Horus
Dionysus: Nope.
Horus: He was never referred to by either of these titles.  "Krst", in Egyptian, means "burial", by the way.  It wasn't a title.

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32. He was known to his followers as a Shepherd of Humanity: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Mithra, Serapis
Buddha: Buddha was considered not considered Shepherd of Humanity.
Horus: This title are not in any Egyptian mythology.
Mithra: Mithra was never called ‘the good shepherd’ or identified with any lamb. He was identified with a lion, but since the lion is associated with Judeo-Christianity all the way back to the book of Genesis, this hardly suggests that Jesus’ lion was inspired by Mithra’s lion. And besides, any references to lions in Mithraic literature date to post-Christian times, making this even less significant.
Serapis: No, he wasn't.

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33. He was known as a fisher, associated with the fish: Jesus, Horus
Horus: He was never referred to as 'a fisher'. Acharya S.'s footnotes on this claim only show an association with fish (which is that Horus WAS a fish, unlike Jesus), with no evidence of his being called 'the fisher' or 'a fisher'.

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34. He's identified with the ram or lamb: Jesus, Dionysus, Horus, Mithra
Dionysus: In one version, he is born with horns on his head like that of a ram.  That's the only mention of a ram in any Dionysus literature, and doesn't compare to Jesus' story at all.
Horus: There are no lamb or ram in any of the stories.
Mithra: No mention of ram or lamb.

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35. He's identified with the lion: Jesus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
Horus: See above, no identification with a lion.
Krishna: Nope
Mithra: As repeated here, he was identified with a lion, but since the lion is associated with Judeo-Christianity all the way back to the book of Genesis, this hardly suggests that Jesus’ lion was inspired by Mithra’s lion. And besides, any references to lions in Mithraic literature date to post-Christian times, making this even less significant.

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36. He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law: Jesus, Buddha, Horus
Buddha: Nope.  He preached the law, but made no mention of the fulfillment or destruction of the law.
Horus: There was no “law” he was supposed to fulfill.

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37. He rode in a triumphal procession on a donkey: Jesus, Dionysus
Dionysus: Repeated from above,  Dionysus was dipicted riding a donkey while a crowd waved ivy branches - the typical homecoming for any royal figure.  The crowd welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem were imitating this sort of homecoming, though using the traditional palm branches of Israel.  So while this could be called a sort of imitation, it's an imitation committed by the people in the story itself, not by any writer, and had nothing to do with Dionysus in particular.  The latter quotes come from the book "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy.  Their only reference is to a depiction of a scene from Orphic eschatology which, oddly, has nothing to do with Dionysus.

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38. He condemned the clergy for their ambition and hypocrisy. He would later fall victim to their scheming: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: Not found in any version.

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39. He crushed a serpent's head: Jesus, Buddha, Krishna
Buddha: Tradition mentions Buddha killing a serpent, but it doesn't say that he crushed its head (the exact method of execution isn't given).  Mara was AN "evil one", not THE "evil one" (the critic here is clearly trying to imply that she was the Buddhist equivalent of the devil, when in fact Mara was one of many demons).  Other than the fact that both Buddha and Jesus were tempted while fasting by an evil being, which I'll admit is somewhat of a coincidence, there's not much to compare the two stories.  Buddha was not in a desert, as Jesus was.  Buddha was tempted with incestual pleasures and fear of death, while Jesus was tempted with hunger, putting God to the test, and idolatry.  Besides that, the temptations of Jesus bear far more of a resemblance to the temptations of the Israelites in the book of Exodus (which predates Buddha) than they do to the temptations of Buddha, so any claim that Buddha's temptations are the basis of Jesus' temptations are ridiculous.
Krishna: This cannot be found in any version of the story.

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40. Declared the savior of humanity, slain for our salvation: Jesus, Attis, Krishna, Mithra
Attis: Attis was not a savior and was never recognized as one. There are various versions of how he died. In most of them, he commits suicide by emasculating himself under a tree. Even in the ones in which he is slain (in one version Zeus sends a boar to kill him, in another a king rapes and murders Attis), it's not for the salvation of mankind in any sens
Krishna: He was never referred to by savior of humanity nor slain for our salvation.
Mithra: Mithra slayed a bull. He was not a bull. He did not slay himself or sacrifice himself in any sense, and the slaying of the bull wasn’t for world peace. For that matter, Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t for world peace, either, but for salvation for those individuals who choose to follow Him.
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« Reply #67 on: February 16, 2011, 10:30:53 AM »

41. He sometimes is known by a heart symbol: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: Uhhhh no.

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42. His body and/or blood is consumed through bread/wine in a symbolic ritual: Jesus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra, Zoroaster
Attis: His followers had a ceremony in which they ate bread and drank either wine or milk, but neither was recognized as being symbolic in any way of Attis’ body.
Dionysus: There exists an unofficial story (that is, not part of the general understanding of the Dionysus story) in which he is, as an infant, attacked by Titans who eat everything but his heart.  Zeus destroys the Titans, and restores Dionysus from the remaining heart.  Who would call the Jesus story a 'copycat' of that story?  Taking this 'similarity' apart, yes, Dionysus was killed.  His actual body was eaten, but since Jesus' body was not (the eating of Jesus' body is a metaphorical thing), this is not a comparison.  Also, Dionysus wasn't eaten in any sort of ritual for fecundity or purification.  In fact, the eating of Dionysus is clearly a bad thing (unlike the eating of Jesus' body) and is punished by death.  Also, he wasn't a sacred king.  The king was Zeus, not Dionysus.
Mithra: The closest thing the Mithraic religion has to Jesus’ last supper is the celebration of a meal Mithra had with the sun god after slaying the bull. But nowhere is this called a ‘eucharist’ or ‘Lord’s Supper’, and since it happened AFTER Mithra’s ‘sacrifice’ and not before (as Jesus’ was), it’s hardly a comparison. As for the quote, the earliest quote along these lines in Mithraic texts dates to post-Christian times and, besides that, wasn’t said by Mithra, but by Zarathustra.
Zoroaster: Since they believe in salvation by works alone, why would they have a eucharist?  The closest thing they have to a eucharist is a ritual involving the haoma plant, but they don't claim the plant is Zoroaster's body or blood.  Besides, the earliest reference to this ritual is post-Christian.

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43. He had a sacred cup or grail: Jesus, Zoroaster
Zoroaster: First of all, Zoroaster did not have a sacred cup or grail.  Second of all, Jesus (at least according to the Bible) did not have a sacred cup or grail.  The Christian "holy grail" is believed by some to be the cup Jesus drank from at the last supper, and others say it was a chalice that collected Jesus' blood at the crucifixion.  But as far as its being 'sacred', the Bible makes no such claim.  This is a medieval non-Biblical legend.

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44. He died while hung from a cross or a tree: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna
Attis: Attis died under a tree, and shed blood which made flowers. Of course, the 'tree' Jesus died on was a crucifix, not an actual tree.  There is no reference anywhere to Attis dying on a Friday (of any color), being crucified, or redeeming the Earth.
Buddha: Buddha didn't die on a cross in any traditions. Every reference I've seen states that he died at the age of 80 of a natural illness. A buddhist did point out that Buddha actually died of poisoning.  Most of the sites I'm finding about Buddha don't mention this, but some do.  This does appear to be the case.
Dionysus: This was no a 'sacrificial' title in any sense.  He was simply called 'Young Man of the Tree'.  How does that suggest he was hung on a tree or crucified?
Horus: Horus was never crucified. There’s an unofficial story in which he dies and is cast in pieces into the water, then later fished out by a crocodile at Isis’ request. This unofficial story is the only one in which he dies at all.
Krishna: Critics claim this, but never back it up.  The only method of demise that I can find is his being shot in the foot by a hunter's arrow, and then either died or disappeared.  If anyone out there can give me an example of a tradition in which he is crucified, please let me know.  Acharya S's footnote on this one makes claims about other mythological figures being crucified, but makes no mention of Krishna being crucified. Jacolliot does make the claim of Krishna being affixed to a tree with arrows after he was killed, but doesn't mention anything about two thieves, and since Krishna was already dead and no crucifix was involved, this was hardly a crucifixion.  And no one has ever been able to back up Jacolliot's claim, anyway, making it likely fraudulent.  And even if not fraudulent, this story postdates Christianity by over 1800 years and was thus certainly influenced by Christianity.

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45. His good friend, a fisherman named Peter/Petraeus, would desert him: Jesus, Prometheus
Prometheus: The critics here are referring back to Oceanus, with one of them stating that the names Oceanus and Patraeus are interchangable.  The critic fails to explain how they're interchangable, and there's no rules in Greek language or name systems which would suggest that they are.  Oceanus was a fellow titan associated with rivers, though there is no reference to his being a fisherman or catching any fish.  In "Prometheus Bound", he appears briefly, offering to intercede with Zeus over a disagreement between Zeus and Prometheus.  Prometheus sends Oceanus away, afraid that his intercession would put Oceanus at risk.  This hardly qualifies as "deserting" Prometheus, at least not in any of the sense that Peter deserted Jesus.

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46. He was crucified between two thieves: Jesus, Horus, Krishna
Horus: Again Horus was never crucified.
Krishna: See above, no mention of two thieves and even the story itself postdates 1800 years from Christianity.

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47. He was around the age of 30 when he was crucified: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: According to tradition, Krishna was 125 when he died.  Only off by 95 years!

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48. At his death, the sun darkened or there were other grim supernatural signs: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: There's nothing about the sun darkening at his death.

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49. He went to the underworld for three days: Jesus, Attis, Mithra
Attis: That he did. But again, this was almost certainly influenced by Christian writings.
Mithra: There’s no references in any Mithraic literature to Mithra dying at all, much less descending into the underworld.

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50. He was resurrected: Jesus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Horus, Krishna, Mithra
Attis: There is no reference to Attis being resurrected. In one version, Agdistis (Attis’ father) asks Zeus to resurrect Attis, but Zeus merely makes it so that Attis’ finger moves continuously and his body remains uncorrupted. Attis does not come back to life in this, or any, version of the story.  Also, this story dates to 150 A.D. at the earliest.
Buddha: Nope.  Buddha was cremated upon his death and was not resurrected in any tradition.
Dionysus: The story is hardly similar to the story of Jesus' resurrection and is an unofficial story anyways
Horus: As for resurrected, this one is at best a "maybe".  The source for this claim is the Metternich Stela (aka the Magical Stela), which dates to the 4th century B.C.  It describes Horus, while hiding in a marsh with his mother, Isis, being bitten by a poisonous scorpion.  Isis cries out for help.  In the Budge translation of the stela, it says "In answer to these words Thoth, turning to Isis and Nephthys, bade them to fear not, and to have no anxiety about Horus, "For," said he, "I have come from heaven to heal the child for his mother." He then pointed out that Horus was under protection as the Dweller in his Disk (Aten), the Great Dwarf, the Mighty Ram, the Great Hawk, the Holy Beetle, the Hidden Body, the Divine Bennu, etc., and proceeded to utter the great spell which restored Horus to life."  While this translation suggests a resurrection, the problem is that other sources disagree with it, saying that the stela claims that Horus was merely sickened, then cured.  Even Budge's translation says that Thoth came to "heal the child", and you don't heal a corpse.  The website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org), which is the museum where the stela is currently located, says the following about the inscription: "Isis speaks and recounts that while she and Horus were still hiding in the marshes, the child became ill. In her despair, she cried for help to the "Boat of Eternity" (the sun boat in which the god travels over the sky), and the sun disk stopped opposite her and did not move from his place." Thoth was sent from the sun boat to help Isis and cured Horus by reciting a catalogue of spells." (source:  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/50.85 ).  Other sources also agree that the Stela says "sickened, then cured" rather than "killed, then resurrected", such as this one: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14561350/metternich-stela
Krishna: The closest parallel comes in some later versions in which Krishna's body turned into a log-like image which floated around the East coast of India, finally ending up in a temple in the town of Puri. But he neither rose from the dead or ascended to Heaven.
Mithra: There’s no references in any Mithraic literature to Mithra dying at all, much less being resurrected. There are some external sources suggesting that Mithra died (though how he died is not made clear), but these date to the 4th century at the earliest. I’d say that this would mean they were inspired by Christianity, but since they don’t mention any burial in a tomb or resurrection, I’d say we couldn’t call it ‘inspired’ at all.

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51. He was resurrected during the springtime, the date of which would become a day of celebration among his followers: Jesus, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra
Attis: There is no reference to Attis being resurrected.
Dionysus: Nowhere is springtime or the date of March 25th given in any Dionysus story.  The date of his "resurrection" after his murder by the Titans is given as November 8th (and as shown in the above answer, this story is hardly similar to the story of Jesus' resurrection and is an unofficial story anyways).  There is an ancient reference to Dionysus being "a god who renews himself and returns every year rejuvenated", but this doesn't involve death.  Besides that, Jesus didn't rise from the dead on March 25th either.  While an exact date is not given, most scholars believe that His crucifixion happened no earlier than March 28th, making His resurrection no earlier than March 30th.
Mithra: There’s no references in any Mithraic literature to Mithra dying at all, much less being resurrected.

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52. His sacred day is Sunday: Jesus, Mithra
Mithra: Mithraists did not appoint Sunday as Mithra’s day until post-Christian times.

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53. He is the second part of a divine trinity and/or considered to be one with his father god: Jesus, Attis, Krishna
Attis: Actually, in the most common version of the story, Attis was the grandson of Zeus. His father was an androgynous creature named Agdistis who was disliked by the gods, including his father Zeus. In other versions, Attis had human parents. Attis’ name appears to mean ‘father’ and he was a consort of Cybele, the mother goddess. But Attis had no children and was never recognized as any sort of symbolic father figure. So other than his name meaning father (which is of no parallel to Jesus), there's nothing to this claim other than his being a descendent of a god.
Krishna: Sort of.  The first Hindu follower who responded to this site states, "That Krishna is an avtar of Vishnu would make him the second god of the Hindu threesome".  However, he also acknowledges that the form of the threesome has changed over the years, and besides that, "The Hindu threesome cannot be equated even remotely with the Christian trinity."  The Hindu trinity is three separate beings, not the three-in-one of the Christian trinity.

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54. He promises to return one day: Jesus, Buddha, Horus, Krishna, Zoroaster
Buddha: There is no mention in Buddhism of the old Buddha returning.  They believe there will be a completely separate Buddha who will be born.  This Buddha will restore order and bring world peace, but not judge the dead.  Jesus made no promise of restoring order or bringing world peace on His return.
Horus: Nope.
Krishna: This is another claim originating with Jacolliot and cannot be dated to earlier than the 19th century.  Nor is it backed up by any evidence besides Jacolliot's claim. Manali pointed me to these two passages in the "Bhagvad Gita": "whenever there is a fall of sustenance; when it goes down, the righteousness falls off, to kill, to destroy these horrible negative forces: to save and sustain the saints, I come in every age in human form." "To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium." Manali says that Krishna is born into a new body in order to return (reincarnation), so this does not compare to Jesus, who is said to be returning in the same body He had in the 1st century.
Zoroaster: There's nothing about his being the redeemer being Zoroaster himself.  Even the religion disagrees with itself on exactly what's going to happen, though the date of 2341 CE is given (although how this date compares to Jesus, I have no idea).  A pre-Christian text (around 400 B.C.) refers to a single redeemer who ushers in a golden age.  Later post-Christian texts suggest there will be three redeemers conceived by virgins who bathe in a lake in which Zoroaster's sperm is being divinely preserved.  One of these redeemers will eradicate death.  Only the one pre-Christian reference could be considered valid, but that one mentions nothing about the return of Zoroaster himself or virgin birth.

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55. When he comes again, he will ride on a white horse to do battle with the prince of evil: Jesus, Krishna
Krishna: No evidence to back up the claim which dates back to the 19th Century by Jacillot.

Sources: http://www.webcom.com/~ara/
http://webonautics.com/mythology/mythology.html
http://www.thedevineevidence.com/jesus_similarities.html
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses10.html#2
http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Attis.html
http://www.geocities.com/WestHollywood/1769/attis.htm
http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/D1A.HTM
http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_04_02_04_PPP.html
http://www.mythindex.com/greek-mythology/A/Atys.html
http://webonautics.com/mythology/avataar_buddha.html
http://www.buddhanet.net/
http://www.tektonics.org/copycat/buddha01.html
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/buddha.html
http://www.theoi.com/Text/Apollodorus3.html#5
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns1.html#1
http://www.theoi.com/Text/HomericHymns3.html#26
http://www.theoi.com/Text/OvidMetamorphoses3.html#6
http://www.kingdavid8.com/Copycat/Home.html
http://www.thenazareneway.com/index_egyptain_book_dead.htm
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/horus.html
http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/osiris.htm#horus
http://www.tektonics.org/osy.html
http://www.well.com/user/davidu/mithras.html
http://www.iranian.com/History/Sept97/Mitra/
http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com/D0.HTM
http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_04_02_04_MMM.html
http://othello.alma.edu/~07tmhopk/mithra.html
http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/society/A0836984.html
http://www.zoroaster.net/indexe.htm
http://www.tektonics.org/zoroaster.html

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Now why would I bother watching more "Jesus myth" propaganda when I have thoroughly destroyed your theory?
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« Reply #68 on: February 16, 2011, 10:54:52 AM »

"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them." (Exodus 18:11)
The Exodus passage has many meanings.  It tells us not to worship false gods, or to treat ourselves or our possessions as gods, but to put the one true God before anything else in our lives.  Not a contradiction.

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"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26)
The passage in Genesis makes reference to the plural nature of God (evidenced by the trinity, which I don't have the space to get into here, but it doesn't contradict the idea of a single God. It basically means that God is able to manifest Himself into different parts).

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"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" (Exodus 20:5)
See above.

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You can reference The Evolution of God on Youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg&feature=player_embedded
What does that have to do with Christianity (as far as redactionalism is concerned?)

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History records that the ancient people in the area of the Middle East, including the Hebrews, believed in many goddesses and gods. Yahweh served only as their god, a god among many others.
Back up your claim. A single video in the lines of "The God Who Wasn't There" isn't sufficient enough proof for me.

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"It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
...ok?

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Christianity is really the evolution of denying the existence of all other GOD's in favor of their singular GOD even though their History is directly tied to polytheism.
See above.

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It's a self-historical contradiction, and a perfect example of the evolution of the God Concept..
Not really. Christianity believes in one God. There is no evolution from the starting point of Christianity in regards to the concept of God. In fact it's Christian dogma (The Holy Trinity)

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(Deuteronomy 9:3 NIV) But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
How does this even reference worshipping the sun? Do you even understand what it means by God acting as a devouring fire? It's not to be taken physically, from my understanding.

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27And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.
So a finite man writing in pre-scientific times is trying to describe the energies of God using the basic terms that he has at his disposal.

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Malachi intimates the appearance of the sun with the name of God. "Hosts" refers to the stars: 11For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)
Uh no it doesn't. It means lord of many people or lord of an army (of angels).

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for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:29)
Yes a fire of Love.

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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
LOL what does that have anything to do with sun worshiping? Great golden lamps in the temple court were lit during the feast of Tabernacles: therefore the appropriateness of Jesus' claim. As someone who is following Christ, I am no longer in darkness.

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Hence the GOD of light is actually supposed to be the Sun itself.
The sun is the sun and the God is God. This is getting ridiculous..
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« Reply #69 on: February 16, 2011, 11:19:47 AM »

No offense to you Jackel, but it is very hard for me to take you seriously on Christianity when you still subscribe to the Christ-myth theory. No serious atheist worth their salt I have debated with even holds to the theory anymore. It truly is a dead thesis.
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« Reply #70 on: February 16, 2011, 12:05:06 PM »

No offense to you Jackel, but it is very hard for me to take you seriously on Christianity when you still subscribe to the Christ-myth theory. No serious atheist worth their salt I have debated with even holds to the theory anymore. It truly is a dead thesis.

This is quite true. I'm surprised atheists still bring this up. At least it's entertaining though...

In all seriousness, though, I truly long for the day when contemporary atheism will have some genuine challenges to Christian faith, because the dialogue is enriching and is actually good for those on both sides of the fence. It's so tiresome when both sides act like children and bring nothing new to the table.
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« Reply #71 on: February 16, 2011, 12:10:32 PM »

No offense to you Jackel, but it is very hard for me to take you seriously on Christianity when you still subscribe to the Christ-myth theory. No serious atheist worth their salt I have debated with even holds to the theory anymore. It truly is a dead thesis.

This is quite true. I'm surprised atheists still bring this up. At least it's entertaining though...

In all seriousness, though, I truly long for the day when contemporary atheism will have some genuine challenges to Christian faith, because the dialogue is enriching and is actually good for those on both sides of the fence. It's so tiresome when both sides act like children and bring nothing new to the table.

Christianity is the most heavily scrutinized religion of all time, and it still has withheld the scrutiny. It's simply remarkable. I honestly believe that we may come to an age where people won't have anything new to say against Christianity. I constantly engage in the old and tired arguments that have been succinctly answered by people hundreds of years ago. That's also a problem with atheism, it makes claims but can't back those up.

Here's my thing, addressing the OP as a non-believer...what do you have to lose in believing in God? You have nothing to lose and perhaps everything to gain.
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« Reply #72 on: February 16, 2011, 12:36:42 PM »

I honestly believe that we may come to an age where people won't have anything new to say against Christianity. I constantly engage in the old and tired arguments that have been succinctly answered by people hundreds of years ago. That's also a problem with atheism, it makes claims but can't back those up.


I think we've already come to that age. Discussing it with folks who trot out the same tired old arguments like we've (gasp!) never heard them before is a dead end. They never seem to come up with anything new.
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« Reply #73 on: February 16, 2011, 12:38:19 PM »

Here's my thing, addressing the OP as a non-believer...what do you have to lose in believing in God? You have nothing to lose and perhaps everything to gain.

Prepare for some snide remark about "Pascal's Wager" and how it's a logical fallacy. In all my dealings with atheists one common theme seems to be their refusal to approach "The God Question" in terms of a relationship rather than a puzzle or problem to be solved.

The thing, though, is that Orthodoxy has never presented her faith as an explanation of physical phenomena or as the results of philosophical musings. She has always offer Christ, as a Person, with Whom we can interact in and through the Church. It's entirely relational. And if one genuinely wants to experience God, all they need to do is have humility, come to the Church with an open mind and a willing attitude, and do what's necessary to have it happen.

That's another common problem, they have an attitude that God must meet them on their terms, and must meet all of their expectations and do everything they want Him to do. And, quite simply, God tends to refuse to bow down to our demands.
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« Reply #74 on: February 16, 2011, 12:49:25 PM »

I honestly believe that we may come to an age where people won't have anything new to say against Christianity. I constantly engage in the old and tired arguments that have been succinctly answered by people hundreds of years ago. That's also a problem with atheism, it makes claims but can't back those up.


I think we've already come to that age. Discussing it with folks who trot out the same tired old arguments like we've (gasp!) never heard them before is a dead end. They never seem to come up with anything new.
Right. It's like regurgitating acid reflux from refutations made years and years ago to bring it into today's old questions.  

Even my own unintellectual problem with theodicy, could so easily be expounded but I had to strip away my own pride to see it.


Prepare for some snide remark about "Pascal's Wager" and how it's a logical fallacy.
I have no problem with the Wager personally, I don't think one should live their life according to it...but it does offer up something to ponder on. I am amused that atheist's tend to be so constricted in tight moral values, what stops them from breaking out?


Quote
In all my dealings with atheists one common theme seems to be their refusal to approach "The God Question" in terms of a relationship rather than a puzzle or problem to be solved.
Right. I ask you this. For those that attempted at having a relationship with God before but gave up and moved into atheism, what could bring them back to the fold?

Quote
The thing, though, is that Orthodoxy has never presented her faith as an explanation of physical phenomena or as the results of philosophical musings. She has always offer Christ, as a Person, with Whom we can interact in and through the Church. It's entirely relational. And if one genuinely wants to experience God, all they need to do is have humility, come to the Church with an open mind and a willing attitude, and do what's necessary to have it happen.
Exactly.

Quote
That's another common problem, they have an attitude that God must meet them on their terms, and must meet all of their expectations and do everything they want Him to do. And, quite simply, God tends to refuse to bow down to our demands.
Bingo, and that's also dangerous with many of these prosperity preachers. You set expectations on God to give you all these material things, but what happens when He doesn't deliver? Give up on God?

Finite man trying to control God on what He should do. Who's really pulling the strings now? LOL.
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« Reply #75 on: February 16, 2011, 05:00:40 PM »

You people do realize those are simplistic parallels and not literal word for word parallels. The point of those were not to show Plagiarism but to show that such beliefs already existed. It's to show the evolution of of religion, and how other cultures and religions inspire the writing of new ones such as Christianity. And none of you actually address the history of Judaism and it's polytheistic roots to which are well established in archeology, scripture and text.
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« Reply #76 on: February 16, 2011, 05:02:07 PM »

Quote
Finite man trying to control God on what He should do. Who's really pulling the strings now? LOL.

GOD is infinite? Thanks for calling me GOD Smiley

Quote
Prepare for some snide remark about "Pascal's Wager" and how it's a logical fallacy.

That's because it is a logical fallacy. And it's purpose was to subliminally manipulate the ignorant into indoctrination. It's the play on the fear tools commonly used in religious dogma. Otherwise their ideology wouldn't have anything to stand on.


In regards to theists claiming they have a relationship with GOD, it's more like a relationship with the conceptual idea of GOD. I get a lot of theists that try to claim to have that "special relationship".. And yet, they can't even give consistent answers to simple questions. I know my friends favorite color, and if I didn't I could simply ask and get a straight answer. Asking theist to tell me what their GOD's favorite color goes down the road of Carl Sagan Dragon, or the assertion of multiple colors, or even the argument of black and white. In fact, all they can do is try and post scripture as their special relationship. o.O  I love books too, but really?
Quote
Back up your claim. A single video in the lines of "The God Who Wasn't There" isn't sufficient enough proof for me.

You might actually want to check his resources lol. They are well backed up, and you might just learn some actual history.

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHistory-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity%2Fdp%2F0345384563&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Well-sourced Wikipedia articles describing the evolution of Jewish monotheism from polytheism:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FMonotheism%23Origin_and_development&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FHistory_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah%23Religion&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FYahweh%23Early_history_of_Yahweh-worship&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Enuma Elish:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FEn%25C3%25BBma_Eli%25C5%25A1&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Library of Ashurbanipal:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FLibrary_of_Ashurbanipal&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Canaanite Religion:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FCanaanite_religion&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fskeptoid.com%2Fepisodes%2F4191&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Taanach Cult Stand:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FYahweh%23Development&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Israel Enters Recorded History in Egypt at 1200 BCE:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FHistory_of_ancient_Israel_and_Judah%23Iron_Age_I&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Jeremiah's Monolatrist Polytheism:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FQueen_of_heaven_(Antiquity)%23Hebrew_Bible_references&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Exodus Renaming by P verified in The Bible with Sources Revealed:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSources-Revealed-Richard-Elliott-Friedman%2Fdp%2F0060530693&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D.

--

The Prince of Egypt:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPrince-Egypt-Val-Kilmer%2Fdp%2FB00000JGOQ&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Vector Attributions:
A huge thanks to Snap2Objects for the many businessmen vectors I use:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.snap2objects.com%2Ffreebies%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Iron Age Israel and Judah:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fsuper-girls%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Cloaked Israelite Women:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fsuper-girls%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Gods and Israelites of War:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Ffighting-people%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Tiamat:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fvector-oriental-dragons%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Asherah and Baal:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fjumping-people%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Israelites:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fmiscsilhouettesofpeople%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Sun:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fgreeengirl.deviantart.com%2Fart%2Ffree-simbols-sun-81174695%3Fq%3Dboost%3Apopular%2Bin%3Aresources%2Fvector%2Bsun%2Bvector%26qo%3D9&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Clouds:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fvector-clouds%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D.
Plants:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vecteezy.com%2FFlowers%2F127-13-Free-Vector-Foliage-Ornaments-Pack-01&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Babies:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fbrowse.deviantart.com%2Fresources%2F%3Fq%3Dbaby%23%2Fd1cnta1&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Ares:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fbrowse.deviantart.com%2Fresources%2Fvector%2F%3Fq%3Dares%23%2Fd2b8aai&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Deuteronomy Flourishes:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fall-silhouettes.com%2Fvector-flourishes%2F&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Blood:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vecteezy.com%2FSpills-Splatters%2F15375-Free-Splatter-Vector-Set&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Paint Splatters:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vecteezy.com%2FSpills-Splatters%2F466-Vector-Splatters&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D

Image Attributions:
Badlands:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcommons.wikimedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3A2003-08-15_Badlands_National_Park_small_buttes.jpg&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Heaven:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcommons.wikimedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3ASky_between_cloud_layers.jpeg&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Babylonian Tablet:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3AVenus_Tablet_of_Ammisaduqa.jpg&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Babylonian Exile:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FJewish_history%23Babylonian_captivity&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
Baal Epic:
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcommons.wikimedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3ABaal_epic_mp3h8930.jpg&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D
http://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=http%3A%2F%2Fcommons.wikimedia.org%2Fwiki%2FFile%3ABaal_epic_mp3h8950.jpg&session_token=8IEKUYxgMRi-d3lhrXnbkr2bK1d8MTI5Nzk3NzI5Mw%3D%3D


** "Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them." (Exodus 18:11)

** "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." (Genesis 1:26)

** "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" (Exodus 20:5)
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 05:32:47 PM by TheJackel » Logged
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« Reply #77 on: February 16, 2011, 05:23:54 PM »

In regards to theists claiming they have a relationship with GOD, it's more like a relationship with the conceptual idea of GOD. I get a lot of theists that try to claim to have that "special relationship".. And yet, they can't even give consistent answers to simple questions. I know my friends favorite color, and if I didn't I could simply ask and get a straight answer. Asking theist to tell me what their GOD's favorite color goes down the road of Carl Sagan Dragon, or the assertion of multiple colors, or even the argument of black and white. In fact, all they can do is try and post scripture as their special relationship. o.O  I love books too, but really?

What in the world are you blathering about?
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« Reply #78 on: February 16, 2011, 05:35:25 PM »

Quote
What in the world are you blathering about?

Was addressing a common argument by theists from a point being made above that reminded me of it. irrelevant anyways to the subject, so my apologies Smiley
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« Reply #79 on: February 16, 2011, 05:38:07 PM »

In regards to theists claiming they have a relationship with GOD, it's more like a relationship with the conceptual idea of GOD. I get a lot of theists that try to claim to have that "special relationship".. And yet, they can't even give consistent answers to simple questions. I know my friends favorite color, and if I didn't I could simply ask and get a straight answer. Asking theist to tell me what their GOD's favorite color goes down the road of Carl Sagan Dragon, or the assertion of multiple colors, or even the argument of black and white. In fact, all they can do is try and post scripture as their special relationship. o.O  I love books too, but really?

I can't tell, but I think maybe you are a little confused. You seem to be inadvertently painting us as sola scripturists, but Orthodox Christians are not. And what is this about God's favorite color? Are you some kind of a crazy person?


You people do realize those are simplistic parallels and not literal word for word parallels. The point of those were not to show Plagiarism but to show that such beliefs already existed. It's to show the evolution of of religion, and how other cultures and religions inspire the writing of new ones such as Christianity. And none of you actually address the history of Judaism and it's polytheistic roots to which are well established in archeology, scripture and text.

I don't think these matters bother anyone. Most Orthodox Christians would acknowledge that proto-Jews were henotheists, and I just listened to a podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko who seems to imply Cain and Abel were polytheists. Whether they were or not, it doesn't matter. We are not afraid of parallels with other religions. All peoples have reached out for the Holy Trinity.

That fact doesn't make Christianity false. It means that all those other religions are true, to some limited extent.
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« Reply #80 on: February 16, 2011, 05:54:22 PM »

Quote

I can't tell, but I think maybe you are a little confused. You seem to be inadvertently painting us as sola scripturists, but Orthodox Christians are not. And what is this about God's favorite color? Are you some kind of a crazy person?

No, the subject main point is the evolution of monotheism and religion. Christianity evolved from polytheism, anyone that knows the archeological record knows this, and anyone that actually knows that the current translations of the bible are nothing more than edited versions. I know Orthodox Christians are not sola Scripturists. It's not really relevant as is the history of the religion itself.


Quote
I don't think these matters bother anyone.

It's not supposed to, it was place to make a point. Whether it bothers you or not, I am addressing the OPS position.


Quote
That fact doesn't make Christianity false. It means that all those other religions are true, to some limited extent.

Actually it makes it no more true than any other religion or GOD to which you think is mythical. Knowing it's history is all I really require to know why monotheism is just an evolution of polytheism. And knowing that the monotheistic GOD of Christianity has it's roots well in bed as a SUN God. Christianity kind of took pieces and bits of other religions and then structured it into a monotheistic religion.


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« Reply #81 on: February 16, 2011, 06:08:56 PM »

Actually it makes it no more true than any other religion or GOD to which you think is mythical. Knowing it's history is all I really require to know why monotheism is just an evolution of polytheism. And knowing that the monotheistic GOD of Christianity has it's roots well in bed as a SUN God. Christianity kind of took pieces and bits of other religions and then structured it into a monotheistic religion.

I have never seen an atheist adequately prove that the Christian God has any similarity to other gods, except for the most superficial and insignificant attributes. For instance, I have heard atheists argue the Trinity comes from Hinduism, even though the Hindu "trinity" has no similarity to the Christian Trinity whatsoever.

And you will also have to prove the logical leap from superficial and insignificant similarities to Christianity taking bits from other religions and creating a monotheistic religion. Do you have any evidence at all for this? Some writings from the Apostles saying "Hey, Vishnu is kind of cool", perhaps?
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« Reply #82 on: February 16, 2011, 06:20:06 PM »

Quote
Now why would I bother watching more "Jesus myth" propaganda when I have thoroughly destroyed your theory?

You didn't destroy any such theory lol.. And I didn't realize National Geographic was a source of propaganda against your religion (/rolls eyes).. Tells me you know little about the history of the evolution of your religion "/ Or even the common folklore and beliefs at the time to which give shape to the birth of Christianity. Even the Ark story is hardly original. Your position would require the total denial of the archeological record as well. Hence, we aren't calling Jesus (possible existing man) a myth.. It's the folklore that surrounds him, and the commonality of his story in that era. Jesus's story was pretty much nearly a dime a dozen in that era of self-proclaimed healers ect. Resurrection in the ancient history of religion was also is seen as the rising of the sun.

http://www.pyramidofman.com/Osiris-Djed.htm

And what of the Catholic "blessing of the new fire" on the evening before Easter Sunday, from which so many candles are lit? Is it not now obvious that its origin is not in the celebration of the risen Son of God, but rather idol worship and the pagan Babylonian god of fire, and sun-god, whose emblem is a flaming heart, and whose name is Baal or Tammuz? The "blessing of the new fire" is an adopted pagan practice that honors the new strength of the Sun as evidenced by the increasing daylight and lessening night after the Spring Equinox, and this has been plainly admitted by Catholics:

   6. The Easter Fire

    The Easter Fire is lit on the top of mountains (Easter mountain, Osterberg) and must be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction (nodfyr); this is a custom of pagan origin in vogue all over Europe, signifying the victory of spring over winter. The bishops issued severe edicts against the sacrilegious Easter fires (Conc. Germanicum, a. 742, c.v.; Council of Lestines, a. 743, n. 15), but did not succeed in abolishing them everywhere. The Church adopted the observance into the Easter ceremonies, referring it to the fiery column in the desert and to the Resurrection of Christ; the new fire on Holy Saturday is drawn from flint, symbolizing the Resurrection of the Light of the World from the tomb closed by a stone (Missale Rom.). In some places a figure was thrown into the Easter fire, symbolizing winter, but to the Christians on the Rhine, in Tyrol and Bohemia, Judas the traitor (Reinsberg-Düringfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 112 sq.).

* (Deuteronomy 9:3 NIV) But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.

* 27And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire enclosed round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him.

* Malachi intimates the appearance of the sun with the name of God. "Hosts" refers to the stars: 11For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)

* for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:29)

* Again Jesus spoke to them, saying,I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
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« Reply #83 on: February 16, 2011, 06:23:10 PM »

Seriously, dear Jackel, are you really laboring under the delusion that you are telling us astonishing things that we have never heard of before?

I can assure you that is not the case.

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« Reply #84 on: February 16, 2011, 06:33:56 PM »

Quote
I have never seen an atheist adequately prove that the Christian God has any similarity to other gods, except for the most superficial and insignificant attributes.

I've seen those attempted arguments, but none of them actually ever really addressed key points that make them untrue. Monotheism is well known to have derived from polytheism and other religions. It's still, even after so many translations and interpretations, is well rooted to it's polytheistic history. I don't sit here and discount the archeological history or tying parallels of past religions. The Story remains the same, especially Genesis's own rooted history in polytheism. Current Christianity is like what video games are today..An evolutionary product based in the roots of hit's history. It's like of FPS shooters will always have that DOOM and Wolfenstien roots to their own existence. You can of course try and deny this, but it won't make it go away.


Quote
For instance, I have heard atheists argue the Trinity comes from Hinduism, even though the Hindu "trinity" has no similarity to the Christian Trinity whatsoever.

Do you see me making arguments in regards to Trinity coming from Hinduism? Nope. No, I am making arguments based on the actual history and archeological record of Christianity.

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And you will also have to prove the logical leap from superficial and insignificant similarities to Christianity taking bits from other religions and creating a monotheistic religion.


In correct. Your assumption that man or even the inspired writers of the Bible had no influence from other religions is nonsensical. It's common knowledge that they have, had, and will continue to do so.. Religion is largely rooted in the history of man in regards as a means to give representation to things they did not understand, or feared. Such things as the SUN and Moon, or natural phenomenon like Earth Quakes, floods, and Volcano's.
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TheJackel
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« Reply #85 on: February 16, 2011, 06:35:16 PM »

Seriously, dear Jackel, are you really laboring under the delusion that you are telling us astonishing things that we have never heard of before?

I can assure you that is not the case.



That's great because the purpose is to address the OP more specifically than it is meant to be addressing your faith in your religion.
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Sleeper
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« Reply #86 on: February 16, 2011, 08:14:05 PM »

Orthodoxy is perfectly aware of, and has no qualms whatsoever with, the fact that religion and philosophy and culture all evolved to the point where Christianity was ready to break on the scene. We're just not sure why that's relevant other than being an interesting topic to discuss. Monotheism derived from polytheism? Okay...so?
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« Reply #87 on: February 16, 2011, 08:38:42 PM »

Orthodoxy is perfectly aware of, and has no qualms whatsoever with, the fact that religion and philosophy and culture all evolved to the point where Christianity was ready to break on the scene. We're just not sure why that's relevant other than being an interesting topic to discuss. Monotheism derived from polytheism? Okay...so?

It has a lot to do with why I personally reject it.. You don't share that position, and that is fine. It's also based around the same reasons why I don't believe in any GOD's because I understand it's evolution in the human history. It is interesting though. But unfortunately that is just one of the many deal breakers for me in regards to faith in the GOD concept. "/.. Though I don't think it's wrong for anyone to continue believing, it's just come to that point of disagreement.
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« Reply #88 on: February 16, 2011, 09:16:56 PM »

Orthodoxy is perfectly aware of, and has no qualms whatsoever with, the fact that religion and philosophy and culture all evolved to the point where Christianity was ready to break on the scene. We're just not sure why that's relevant other than being an interesting topic to discuss. Monotheism derived from polytheism? Okay...so?

It has a lot to do with why I personally reject it.. You don't share that position, and that is fine. It's also based around the same reasons why I don't believe in any GOD's because I understand it's evolution in the human history. It is interesting though. But unfortunately that is just one of the many deal breakers for me in regards to faith in the GOD concept. "/.. Though I don't think it's wrong for anyone to continue believing, it's just come to that point of disagreement.

Honestly, I can understand that impulse, but I don't really see how it's merited. It reminds me of Daniel Dennett's interesting, but ultimately unconvincing and rather pointless book Breaking the Spell wherein he seems to think that by explaining how religion arose naturally one has grounds to dismiss it altogether. It leaves one scratching one's head. His whole argument is really nothing more than misapplying over and over quantitative terms to unquantifiable terms and a series of indirect inferences drawn from behaviors that could be interpreted in a million different ways. Um, of course religion is a naturally occurring phenomenon, do people think it isn't? And do people really think it follows that because this is true it is impossible for it to be the vehicle of divine truth?
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« Reply #89 on: February 16, 2011, 10:20:01 PM »

You people do realize those are simplistic parallels and not literal word for word parallels.
Barely 2% of your "parallels" hold any merit. The rest are false.

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The point of those were not to show Plagiarism but to show that such beliefs already existed.
No. There were no such beliefs that existed before Christ and as I said only 2% come sort of close, but not close enough.

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It's to show the evolution of of religion, and how other cultures and religions inspire the writing of new ones such as Christianity.
Wrong.

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And none of you actually address the history of Judaism and it's polytheistic roots to which are well established in archeology, scripture and text.
I'll get to your writeup here in a second, but nothing of Orthodoxy hinges on the polytheistic roots of Judaism. Let me make this clear. Nothing. In. Orthodoxy. Hinges. On. The. Polytheistic. Roots. Of. Judaism.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2011, 10:20:16 PM by Aposphet » Logged

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